Andrew Jackson, The 'Sharp Knife'

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Andrew Jackson, The "Sharp Knife"

When we look back into history, we are now able to fully comprehend the atrocities the Indians faced at the hands of the historic general and President, Andrew Jackson. It can be seen as one of the most shameful and unjust series of political actions taken by an American government. However, as an American living almost 200 years later, it is crucial to look at the motives possessed by Andrew Jackson, and ask whether he fully comprehended the repercussions of his actions or if is was simply ignorant to what he was subjection the natives to. We must also consider weather he truly had the countries best interest in mind, or his own.

We can begin to see Jackson's vigilante style leadership following the War of 1812. During this conflict, General Jackson became a national icon through several decisive victories over the British. Most notably the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815. During this battle the British suffered more than 2,000 casualties while the American sustained six killed and 10 wounded. This victory helped to restore the nation's pride which had been floundering, since the torching of the White House by the British. This event in particular assured that Jackson's name was on the tip of every American tongue during a revolutionary time. As a newly

affirmed war hero, Jackson enjoyed the privileges that accompanied such a stigma, such as being able to act independently without the fear of political repercussion. "Old Hickory" as he was dubbed due to his toughness and strict sense of discipline, had a vision of America, and the Indians did not necessarily have a role in that vision. In 1814, Jackson waged war against the Creek Indians, who were not only a "threat to the...

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...interest of his people. However, Andrew Jackson did not see the native tribes as sovereign nations. Would this not mean they were subjects of the United States, making them part of Jackson's "people"? Unfortunately for the Indians, :"his people" seemed to be more the white, voting individual inhabiting the country. Since the natives did not have any kind of market appeal, Jackson saw no apparent need to have them occupy the area. The expansion or land, wealth and power of the white settler was a much larger priority to the president than the rights of a few "savages". However, Jackson undeniably made the point in his early years in office that he felt sympathy for the Indian nations. At what point does Jackson cease advocating for "preserving this much injured race" and shift to the relentless white expansionist looking to expel every Indian out of the country?

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